Laura Sandefer

January 28, 2014

Is engagement a precursor to effort? Should we have metrics for engagement in our Eagles?

Engagement is measured all the time. There are formulas to measure customer interaction with a product, name brand recognition, hits, returns and comments.

As parents, we have a clear sense of when our children are deeply engaged; however, I need and want data to report back from the Studios.

Researching how schools measure engagement has been disquieting. In teacher-directed classrooms, there are metrics for how many times a hand goes up; how many students are taking notes; how many heads are on the desks; homework frequently homework is returned, etc.

The Gallup Student Poll, a free service to public schools nationwide, measures “hope, engagement and well-being in students in grades 5th-12th grades.” The 2013 results of the Gallup Student Poll are as follows:

54% of these students are Hopeful; 55% are Engaged; and 66% are Thriving.

If I got those numbers back on my poll, I would be giving you your money back.

What about Acton Academy students? How can we be sure they are engaged?

I will bank my money (and yours) on one thing that ensures engagement: student ownership of learning.

“The ultimate engagement is to put the learner in charge of learning.” (Ben Johnson, High School principal, consultant and author as quoted in Edutopia on 3/1/12.)

When a person owns his or her own learning, emotions (good and bad) run high; behaviors are changed until results become real and resilience after mistakes and struggles is evident. This is why we parents work to get out of the way and let our children, in their unique ways, experience what it means to truly own the learning.

I will keep working on metrics and report back.

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Middle School

6th-8th Grade

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Middle School is where young people rapidly start owning their education. Middle school is the perfect time to develop intellect and character while gaining a deeper sense of self and the real world. Students have a broad palette of topics to study and pair in-depth academic exploration with real-world connections to experts and local apprenticeships. Middle School is about deepening a passion for individual subjects while broadening your understanding of yourself and your future.